Spanish Jennet

by Didi Hornberger

Got more Appy and pinto models than the model shows have classes for, and not nearly enough places to show off all of your lovely spotted models? Check out the Spanish Jennet! WOW !!!

The registered Spanish Jennet is defined by his gait, and by his flashy coloration. He is not a large horse, typically measuring 13.2 to 15.2 hands. His four-beat, lateral Paso gait is completely natural, and is performed at three forward speeds with varying degrees of collection. He has two distinct and very different color patterns – Pintado, (pinto spotted) and Atigrado. (Paso Tiger Horse, or Appaloosa) A full spectrum of spotted colors of both varieties is permitted in the breed, with only the graying gene disallowed. His mane and tail ise full and long, and double manes are not uncommon.

During the 2nd half of the Baroque period, Europeans considered flashy colored horses to be vulgar. If it were not for the Spanish interest in exotic colors and patterns, many of these interesting patterns and colors could have been lost, forever. Cherished for his unique and appealing coat patterns and unequaled smooth gait, the Spanish Jennet Horse was in the Middle Ages as he is today, a versatile, athletic horse popular because of his exceptional abilities and his flamboyant coloration.

Paso Fino and Peruvian Paso Horse are without doubt the modern day version of the famed Spanish Jennet. As time marched on, the patterned horses began to lose favor among modern Paso breeders, with the Leopard (or Atigrado) all but bred out of Paso horses. In order to reestablish the Atigrado division of the Spanish Jennet Horse Registry, it was accepted that non-Paso horses would have to be incorporated in the breed. Wholesale outcrossing is allowed by the Spanish Jennet Horse Society, to accomplish this. All outcrossing designed to reestablish the Lp complex pattern in the Atigrado division will be limited to one generation only. The Pintado (pinto) Paso still is available, thus the Pintado division will not allow any out-crossing from pure Paso lines.

The goal of the Spanish Jennet Horse Society will be to ensure the perpetuation of the horses which make up the distinctive "Horse of the Middle Ages", the Spanish Jennet Horse. Non-patterned, non-gray pure-bred Paso or Paso Fino sires and dams of Pintado Spanish Jennet offspring maybe registered as breeding stock, only.Non-patterned offspring from these individuals will be registered as Spanish Jennet breeding stock (designated as "BS-*" may be used for either the Pintado or Atigrado division), but are ineligible to compete in the show ring. Additionally, non-patterned sires and dams of pinto offspring maybe registered as Spanish Jennet breeding stock, but may not compete in the show ring.

To be eligible for registration a horse must be a purebred Paso or Paso Fino horse registered with one of the approved Spanish Jennet registries.

Now that we have coloration and type, don't forget to consider conformation when showing your Spanish Jennet models! Typically, heads are medium-sized, some with a typically Spanish profile, (slightly convex) and refined. Large eyes, small muzzles, and well-arched (but not crest-heavy) necks are desired. Chests should be deep and ribs well sprung, croups are rounded. Legs should have refined long bones with prominent joints. Hooves are small and tough. Tails should be medium to low-set, and carried naturally.

As the Spanish Jennet was once the choice of Medieval and European nobility and royalty, let him flourish once more in our Model Horse show rings as a source of education and antiquarian delight – and let him find a new niche alongside our all-too-crowded pinto and Appaloosa classes, in his own right! HAVE FUN!!!

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